I met my friend Martin O’Neill at Shear Water yesterday evening. Martin is a mad as a box of frogs Irishman who just happens to also be as fit as the proverbial fiddle. He will be running with me during the deepest darkest coldest wee hours of Chapter 2 (when I am invariably at my slowest and lowest) in order to cajole, encourage, and kick my ass in an attempt to keep me keeping on. To that end he was keen to learn the route beforehand.
We set off and ran a lap, chatting as we did so about this n that ( the running variety of “this n that’s” of course) and finished the lap just shy of 1 hour. I really enjoyed having company whilst I ran for a change. Up until yesterday every time I have run “The” route, or any other run at Shear Water………….. then I have always done so by myself. In a strange way it felt nice “sharing” my route with someone else. Almost like showing or telling someone about something your child has done that makes you proud. “The” route is “my” route and I am proud of her/him (I haven’t decided upon a name yet let alone a gender). We chatted a bit more in the car park, agreed to meet up and do more laps in the dark together, before Martin headed off home and I began my second lap. I ran laps 2 and 3 listening to my I Pod and singing, sometimes quite loudly, on the by now very quiet trail. In total the 3 laps took me 3 hours and 13 mins.
Now by anyone’s description 3 hours to run 15 miles is far from a blistering pace. But it was still too fast. Yep………I said too fast. I know that come Sept I will not be able to keep that pace for a whole 24 hour period. I have never ran for 24 hours before, but I do know that I need to be conserving energy from the get go. Each lap has an overall elevation of 483 feet. That in itself is not huge, but cumulatively each lap and elevation will add up. For example – the highest Mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis with a height of 4409 feet (1344m). So if come Sept I manage to run at least 10 laps (whilst I genuinely have no targets whatsoever – I do hope to achieve 10 laps) then I will have ran the equivalent of just over the height of Ben Nevis. Some runners at 24 hour events prefer to go out hard and fast and “bank” miles before taking a rest period. Others prefer to maintain a much slower pace that is manageable over a longer period and take shorter rest breaks. I have never been a fast runner but I do know how to pace myself and I will burn out and slow down disproportionally if I set off too quick.
Think the Tortoise and the Hare. 🙂